Kids & Family

School Leadership Program Encourages Teen to Open a Donation Closet

When he noticed that other students were struggling to buy new clothes for the school year, he came up with a thrifty solution.

While a lot of kids start the school year with a closet full of new clothes, some don't have that luxury. That's why 13-year-old Chase Neyland-Square created "PAM's Pantry" at his middle school in Louisiana. Neyland-Square filled the pantry with donated clothes, school supplies, hygiene products and more, and students can visit the pantry at any time and take what they need from it.

Neyland-Square started the project as part of the school's SPARK (Student Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge) program, which helps bring students' ideas to life. Students work over the summer and brainstorm different ideas that will improve their experience at the school. Then, they work together to put their ideas into action.

(Source: Tower of Niceness Facebook )

The principal of the school, Jessica Major, started the program in 2016 with the goal of encouraging leadership among students. Some of the other ideas that have come out of the program include more books for the school library, lunch with the principal for good grades and extended recess.

"We ask them what they want to do to make the school better and through that, we have changed drastically some of the things that we do here at Port Allen Middle School," Major told WAFB-TV .

Even though it has only been open for a short time, the pantry has already helped many people, including a family who lost everything in a fire.

"They had a family, a Port Allen family who suffered from a fire, so they came in and got a whole new closet full of clothes," Neyland-Square said.

PAM's Pantry is stocked with school supplies as well as clothes, shoes and personal hygiene products.

(Source: WAFB9-TV )

Major hopes the program will have long-lasting effects and will encourage the students to use their experiences to think about the future. In the case of Neyland-Square, he already has big plans for the pantry.

"I'm going to come back and continue working on PAM's Pantry," he said.

"I'm hoping one day I can turn it into a non-profit organization." - Chase Neyland-Square

Those local to Port Allen Middle School in Louisiana who would like to donate to the pantry can drop off items at the school's office. Click here for contact information.

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